Tuesday, December 21, 2010

dinner date - roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts & honey

I made this chicken from the Ottolenghi cookbook after hearing how good it was from Chloe and Weston. They were right: it is AMAZING! It's so simple but so delicious and so fragrant. The recipe calls for you to cut a whole organic chicken into pieces - too much hassle when have no butchery skills so I just used bone-in chicken thighs. Boneless would work fine too.

I bought saffron especially for this recipe but I'm unsure whether you'd actually notice if you left it out with so many other flavours in there... it sure is expensive and although I knew that when to Moore Wilson to get the ingredients I still gasped when I saw the tiny wee tuft of strands I got for $9!

We ate the chicken with plain couscous and a green salad. It's a great meal if you're having people over on a week night as you can do all the prep the night before and throw it in the oven when you get home. Try it!

6-8 chicken pieces (I used bone-in, skinless thighs)
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a big pinch of saffron
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp cold water
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
100g unskinned hazelnuts
70g honey
2 tbsp rosewater
2 spring onions, roughly chopped (I forgot about these but they're only for garnishing)

Mix the chicken with the onion, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Leave it to marinate for at least an hour (or overnight in the fridge).

Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Spread the hazelnuts out in a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Keep a close eye on them as they can go from browned to burnt very quickly. The recipe says to chop and set aside but I placed them in a clean teatowel first and rubbed the skins off.

Place the chicken and marinade into a large roasting tray, with the chicken skin-side up (if your chicken has skin). Put in the oven for about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the chopped hazelnuts with the honey and rosewater to make a rough paste. Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon a generous amount of the nut paste onto each piece, pressing it on to the top of each piece. Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, making sure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the nuts are golden brown.


  1. This looks delicious Libby!! Was this the recipe you were going to email? Agree about the saffron - would be interesting to see if it is the same if left out. I will definitely be making it!!

  2. This sounds amazing! I am just going to have to buy these books already, every recipe I read about seems incredible.


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